Sasha, an Oakland resident, took part in the caravan. The signs on her car read “Town Biz” and “Justice for Mario Gonzalez." The 26-year-old Gonzalez died on April 19, 2021, while in the custody of the Alameda Police Department. Credit: Amir Aziz

Dozens of people from Oakland and the East Bay showed up at Lake Merritt yesterday to commemorate 510 Day, a celebration of the area’s history and culture that’s been happening on May 10 every year since 2016.

For the second year in a row due to the pandemic, most of the day’s festivities took place online in the evening—but the party kicked off with a car and pedestrian caravan early on Monday afternoon at Lake Merritt. And although turnout for the event was modest compared to pre-pandemic years, the mood was lively. The caravan started at the Cleveland Cascade staircase on Lakeshore Avenue and went around the whole of Lake Merritt, passing by shops and restaurants like Lake Chalet and Ahn’s Burger, with onlookers waving in support of the event. Throughout the day, revelers played music, shared food, and waved signs with prideful messages like “We Still Here,” “Real Town Biz,” and “Oakland Against Gentrification.”

Last week, we published an interview with Leon “DNas” Sykes, one of the co-founders of 510 Day, who told us about the party’s origins and purpose. On Monday, The Oaklandside’s visual journalist Amir Aziz was on hand to capture the scene in photos.

Leon “DNas” Sykes, one of the co-organizers of the event, giving an overview of 510 Day and telling participants how the caravan will happen, with the bike group leading the way. Credit: Amir Aziz
Many community members celebrated 510 Day in t-shirts paying homage to Oakland culture. The shirts read: “Turf Dancers & People Power & Scrapers & Taco Trucks & Box Chevs & Black Cowboys & Side Shows” Credit: Amir Aziz
Joyous, Needa Bee’s daughter, serving free lumpia from The Lumpia Lady, Needa’s Filipino-fusion mobile food stall, at the sixth-annual 510 Day at Lake Merritt, celebrating Oakland’s history and culture. Credit: Amir Aziz
Joyous and Needa Bee, serving lumpia and sharing information with residents about The Village, a housing movement in Oakland. Credit: Amir Aziz
Callita of Flick It Up Photo Booth, a Black and family-owned event services business in Oakland, demonstrating a camera for attendees of 510 Day at Lake Merritt. Credit: Amir Aziz
Standing up against gentrification was a strong theme at this year’s 510 Day at Lake Merritt in Oakland. Credit: Amir Aziz
510 Day co-founders (from left): Needa Bee, Leon “DNas” Sykes, and Jordan Warren (far right) with Nicole Lee (front). Credit: Amir Aziz
A caravan participant waves a poster calling for “Justice for Mario Gonzalez,” an unarmed man who died while in the custody of the Alameda Police Department on April 19, 2021. Credit: Amir Aziz
A community member gets their photo taken at the Flick It Up Photo Booth, May 10, 2021. Credit: Amir Aziz
Leon “Dnas” Sykes and Needa Bee, two of the co-founders of 510 Day. Credit: Amir Aziz
510 Day co-founder Leon “DNas” Sykes in his car at the start of the car caravan on Monday, May 10, 2021. Credit: Amir Aziz
A cyclist who is part of the 510 Day caravan passes in front of the Lake Chalet restaurant on Monday, May 10, 2021. Credit: Amir Aziz
Zay Cole (right, black cap) of Urban Peace Movement, a youth leadership organization in Oakland, calling for bikes to get into position to lead the car caravan. Credit: Amir Aziz
In addition to driving cars, people joined the 510 Day caravan on bikes, motorcycles, and on rollerskates. Credit: Amir Aziz
A 510 Day volunteer posts fixes a sign to a car. The signs were provided to drivers by organizers of the event. Credit: Amir Aziz
A handmade sign reading “Real Town Bizne$$” at the 510 Day caravan at Lake Merritt on Monday, May 10, 2021. Credit: Amir Aziz Credit: Amir Aziz
510 Day participants made their way around Lake Merritt in cars, on bikes, and in rollerskates. Credit: Amir Aziz
The sixth annual 510 Day at Lake Merritt was a celebration of Oakland’s history and culture. Credit: Amir Aziz

Amir Aziz is a photographer and videographer from Oakland, California. Using photography as his primary medium, Amir documents life and times in his community and the rapid changes in his environment. He's covered music events and social justice movements in the U.S. and abroad for local and international publications. Before shelter-in-place, he traveled to over 10 countries producing multimedia projects juxtaposing the experiences of locals elsewhere to those in his hometown of Oakland. Amir hopes to continue to bridge the gap between African diaspora communities and oppressed groups in the world through multimedia storytelling.